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Industrial safety - 2 min read - 15 July 2022

How high-visibility clothing could save lives in work zones?

It takes real effort to keep industrial, utility, electrical, and construction workers safe on the job. It necessitates the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as high visibility clothing. Below, we outline information about high visibility clothing that you should be aware of.

What is high visibility clothing?

High visibility (Hi Vis) clothing is a type of clothing that workers wear to improve their visibility on the jobsite and, ultimately, workplace safety. High visibility clothing is comprised of colorful fluorescent elements made with special dyes that shine brighter than regular colors. These colors convert the sun's invisible ultraviolet light into a bright, visible light. Fluorescent colors maximize the use of available sunlight are easier to see in low light conditions such as dusk, dawn, and on cloudy days.

Why is high visibility clothing important for safety?

High visibility clothing is exceptionally important in maintaining safety and preventing accidents. It ensures that it is easy to see when working on-site. The human eye responds best to objects that are large, contrasting, bright, or moving. As a result, a high color contrast between your clothing and the work environment in which it is visible improves the visibility.

It is critical in hazardous situations, such as near roadways, in the dark, and in areas where workers may be obstructed by trees, traffic barriers, or construction equipment. In high-traffic areas, high-visibility clothing can help reduce the risk of injuries and accidents.

Hi Vis Clothing

What is the proofing standard for high visibility clothing?

High visibility clothing has become an industry standard in the majority of countries. Anyone working on the job is expected to wear it in order to be seen easily. However, it is important to understand the legislative requirements and standards to ensure that your employees are wearing compliant high visibility gear. Just because they're wearing a bright yellow shirt doesn't always mean they're properly attired and safe from harm.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI 107) and International Organization for Standard (ISO 20471) have developed the high visibility standard to assist you as a safety manager in any industry in selecting high visibility clothing that can help protect your employees. ANSI standards for high visibility clothing have identified three colors considered acceptable for high visibility clothing backgrounds. The three approved background colors are fluorescent yellow/green, orange, and red. These colors provide the best visibility during the day, which is one of the primary functions of high visibility clothing.

In Australia and New Zealand, there is also a standard High visibility safety clothing, AS/NZS 1906.4 that governs the luminosity of fabrics and AS/NZS 4602.1 that governs design and the amount of Hi Vis fabric included.

Get your safety right, wear (compliant) Hi Vis on site

While all high visibility gear seems to be the same, some garments are non-compliant and can be unsafe to use. As a safety manager, you must ensure that your employees' high visibility clothing meets or exceeds any standard by requesting the relevant certificate or testing report from the manufacturers.